Following on from its “Hot Fusion” show in summer, Tacoma’s B2 gallery on St. Helens Avenue downtown highlights four abstract artists for “Cold Fusion,” a show that includes some extremely strong work in painting and photography.
Best of the bunch is Judy Hintz Cox, whose painterly abstracts play with a textured white background imprinted with elements of black and just one other color. Almost sumi-like in the way she pays attention to paint drips and single, wide brush strokes, Cox uses the single colors judiciously to speak eloquently and emotionally. In “Fear Not 2” the splash of rust red falls on the thickly spread white like the shock of blood on snow. Just visible underneath the background are hints of newsprint, like a memory. Other red works are equally strong; those on a corridor wall with apple-green and more Miro-like geometrics, like “Inspired by Cello,” are less effective, with simpler texture in the background.
Photographer Jeff Mitchell exhibits two series all of the same object, one black-and-white, one color. It’s so close-up as to be unrecognizable, though it’s reminiscent of the curvy lines of the Bilbao Guggenheim museum, frequent inspiration of photographers around the world for its space-age asymmetry and shiny metal surface. Closely cropped, Mitchell’s black-and-white photographs bring out the light playing on the curves, tricking the eye’s perspective like an Escher drawing, the shadows flattening into the foreground and the shiny light flipping into the background. The color series isn’t as arresting but the composition is still compelling, placing curves and lines in unexpected parts of the frame.
Scott Morgan’s large oils are more uneven. The large canvases use muted color fields of sage and gray with figure-based lines; the outcome is not intense enough to hold the eye, as abstracts need to do. Smaller works in bolder colors, such as “Yet Remaining,” are stronger, the thickly impastoed turquoises and emeralds cracking jaggedly across the canvas with power and depth.
In the back of the gallery is Todd Clark, whose layered oil splodges in grays, white and saturated pastel hues don’t speak to great depths of thought. “Offering” is the exception, its flurry of brush-lines in spring-blossom colors rather like a joyful Cy Twombly.
“Cold Fusion” is one of very few shows open during the holiday period, and it’s an excellent choice to fill this formal, beige-walled space.
Open 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday through Feb. 4. Free. B2 Gallery, 711 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma. 253-238-5065, www.b2finearts.com